LONDON — Kim Jones kicked off the tour of Dior men’s capsule collection with cult label Denim Tears in London at Phonica Records, a vinyl specialist in Soho that has been used by the likes of Rimowa and Lacoste in the last year.
Past the stacks of records and down the stairs in the shabby store, an empty space is bubbling up with white transparent domes that spell out “Dior Tears” in the French luxury house’s Nicolas Cochin font and decorated with florals from artist Azuma Makoto, who specializes in botanical art.
The London pop-up is the only one taking place in Europe, allowing Dior clients to shop the pieces before it reaches stores on Thursday. The pop-up ends on Thursday and will then be moving to Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai for the rest of the month.
“London obviously holds a special place for me, it’s the home of menswear and it’s such a fabulous place to look at fashion. I’m very happy to launch the Dior Tears capsule collection here in London, which is my home, with my friends and all the people that are important to me,” Jones told WWD.
Will Poulter, Freddy Carter, AJ Tracey and Rish Shah attended to help celebrate the collection.
The cocktail reception was an opportunity for friends and clients of the brand to witness what Jones and Tremaine Emory, founder of Denim Tears and creative director of sportswear label Supreme, had cooked up, with a closer inspection of the collection that was unveiled last December with a presentation at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Big spending Dior customers already had their chance to put in their pre-orders earlier in the year, but some still arrived at Phonica Records for add ons.
“Tremaine has been my friend since 2005 — we’ve always talked about doing a project together. As we were showing on the African continent and Africa is something present in his work, I thought it would be good to invite him to work on a collection mixing Dior and Denim Tears,” said Jones about the collaboration.
“Whenever I work with someone, I give them an idea of what we need but then respect their vision to do what they want to do, that’s the secret of a great collaboration. The important thing is to be able to always give value to their contribution without dropping it in, but rather integrating it into the collection,” he added.
Nearly everything in the store was Dior, from the homeware to the books on the shelves, with the exception of the furniture. A musical session took place as waiters handed out chilled cocktails, Champagne and water during London’s humid weather.
Jones said he feels a responsibility “as someone who has done well” to see the next generation grow and to give them a chance.
“I speak to lots of them, I give them advice and help them, and I give them money and do whatever I can to keep them going. I also love to see things from their perspective, which is very inspiring for me,” he said.
Denim Tears, which has collaborated with brands including Levi’s, Ugg, Converse and Champion, is known for telling stories about the African diaspora, and promoting racial justice and cultural activism through its designs, such as its signature cotton wreath motif.
The Tyson Beckford sweater, a reinterpretation of the 1989 Ralph Lauren sweater that replaces the original American flag with the African American flag created by artist David Hammons, was one of several Denim Tears designs featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute recent “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition.
“Denim Tears speaks about the plight and the glory of Black culture. Every collection varies, sometimes it celebrates Alvin Ailey and American greats, sometimes it discusses slavery. It’s not always negative things we’ve been through as a people, sometimes it’s the positive. It all depends on the story I want to tell,” Emory said in an interview last year.